Indigenous Foundations Program

Program Overview

The Indigenous Foundations Program is a full-time university transition program for Indigenous students pursuing an undergraduate degree.

The program provides students with a learning environment and sweetgrass holistic approach to support where they can pursue their academic goals while balancing personal wellness.

Faculty, Indigenous knowledge holders, and a dedicated Student Success Coordinator support students in the Indigenous Foundations Program program.

When students successfully complete their first year in the Indigenous Foundations Program, they will have earned up to 24 university credits towards their university degree. Students will also have developed a strong foundation in academic and personal skills to help ensure their continued success in their studies at Nipissing University.

Would you like to know more? Give us a call or come visit us on campus!

Contact us at:  or call (705) 474-3450 Ext 4441 


Who can apply?

The Indigenous Foundations Program welcomes applications from students with Indigenous ancestry who would like additional supports for their transition to university.

  • Recent high school graduates
  • Recent college graduates and transfer students
  • Mature Students
  • Those missing some of the traditional admission requirements

How do you apply?

To apply to the Indigenous Foundations Program applicants must submit the following documents to the Office of the Registrar.

  • An Application Form
  • Statement of Intent - A personal letter outlining the your educational goals, strengths and challenges
  • An updated resumé
  • Two references on the forms provided. One professional reference (teachers, employers or community members) and one personal reference (a non-family member who has known you for several years)
  • Original Transcripts (Secondary & Postsecondary)
  • Proof of Ancestry


Need more information? 

Call or email us, we are happy to chat with you and answer any and all of your questions about the program.

Indigenous Foundations Program, Student Success & Development Coordinator

Phone: 705.474.3450 Ext. 4441


"I didn’t look at university as an option because I thought I wasn’t smart enough. I didn’t believe I could succeed. I didn’t think it was the right place for me.  By doing the work and putting in the effort, I’ve shown myself that I can succeed at the university level. I took a chance and now I’m excelling way past the point I thought I’d be."

Dakota, Bachelor of Arts Honours Specialization in Social Welfare and Social Development
Hometown: Ottawa, ON

Academic Supports and Resources

Students participate in a series of workshops and activities to strengthen and enhance their academic skills and knowledge.

  • One-on-one (or small group) tutoring sessions
  • Writing workshops
  • Study Skills Seminars
  • Laptop Lending Initiative - any student in the Indigenous Foundations Program who requires a laptop for their first year can borrow one through the Office of Indigenous Initiatives.

Personal Supports and Resources

A Student Success Coordinator works with students to find balance in their academic and personal lives.

  • Transition Support
  • Stress Management
  • Budgeting Assistance (scholarships/awards/bursaries)

Peer and Community Connection

In the Indigenous Foundations Program, students are encouraged to make connections with their peers, staff, and faculty within the university community.

  • Orientation
  • Cohort Model of Learning (learning together in group)
  • Connecting first year students in the Indigenous Foundations Program with former students in the program and the wider Nipissing University community

Cultural Supports and Resources

The Indigenous Foundations Program involves the participation of Elders and Indigenous knowledge holders from the community to create connections to cultural support for students.

  • Sharing circles and smudges
  • On-going guidance and mentorship

Indigenous Foundations Program Orientation

Indigenous Foundations Program and Summer Indigenous Institute students engage in a one day orientation in advance of their first course. Orientation is essential to starting your year off in a good way. It is an opportunity for you to get acquainted with your peers and on-campus support network. 

Additional orientation information will be emailed to your Nipissing University email account in Spring.

Indigenous Foundations Program Course Registration

Updated information to follow


"Have you ever thought about going to university? I did not meet the admission requirements to apply directly to a degree. Then someone mentioned this program to me. So I applied and got accepted.

The Indigenous Foundations Program allowed me to take my first step into academia, and meet some really great people along the way. There are supports within program and the larger university. Trust me you will not regret applying.

I wouldn't be where I am today without the Indigenous Foundations Program. I never thought I would complete a History degree with honours. I never thought that I would be working on a Master of Environmental Studies, and I never thought I would be co-authoring an academic article for publication, but here I am."

Take the chance! It has been very rewarding for me!

Kiethen, Master of Environmental Studies
Hometown: Kashechewan, ON

Ready to apply to the Indigenous Foundations Program?


For additional information about admission requirements, deadlines or any other questions you have please contact our Student Success & Development Coordinator.

Phone: 705-474-3450 Ext. 4441